Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is Anxiety

Tonight has been pure hell.  I know people don't understand.  And plenty of people think I've created a monster, or that the way I choose to handle things only exacerbates the situation, or worse yet, that I am being manipulated and controlled by some sort of 8-year-old sociopath.  I assure you, however, I am trying my damnedest to navigate this road as gracefully and sensitively as possible.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, my 8-year-old, Alex, has developed a nasty "case" of anxiety.  It started in the last 6 months or so and focuses itself primarily on weather but more generally on safety (feeling safe, being healthy, etc.).  Leaving the house suddenly makes him feel unsafe and uneasy, especially if there is any chance of wind, precipitation, or heck, a change in barometric pressure of any kind (I exaggerated there a smidge.)   I have seen this anxiousness surface in situations where people are sick or hurt (e.g. Daddy had surgery for a hernia a few weeks ago and Alex was uber concerned that Dad "was ok" and would "be ok" indefinitely).  Of course this increased nervousness also increases his need to be attached to me in true Velcro Boy fashion.  But the most frustrating part is that it manifests in the most unexpected places and times (e.g. on board a naval battleship for a Scout overnight that we've done twice before wherein Alex suddenly expressed a serious fear of small places and wasn't at ease unless he had a direct and well-memorized escape plan at all times).
In the car traveling on a rainy day.
Of course, I don't have all of the answers.  Heck, I don't think I have any of them, really.  I will fully admit I'm winging it every day.  But I am trying to help him the best way(s) I know how.  Afterall, I am the one living this nightmare along side him.  I'm the one who sees the pain in my precious 8-year-old's eyes when he insists, er, demands we stay home or GO home (immediately!).  The point is, I know my kid and I can tell the difference between a fake "I want something" cry and and a real truly scared gut-wrenching sob.  And I know people don't agree.  But I'd like to think that as his mother I can see through the crap and tell the real deal.  I am probably wrong.  But if I'm being totally honest, I would rather err on the side of caution and not risk damaging his emotional well being simply because I didn't "believe him".

I walk a very thin line.  Every. Single. Day.  I weigh the signs, the reactions, the underlying messages and the unspoken emotions.  I try to always think about what the true reason for his outbursts of anger and jerkiness (which seem to be his favorite way to express his anxiety) might be.  Never to assume his behavior is what it outwardly appears to be (for example, he's not REALLY mad at his brother for eating the last banana when the sky just darkened up and he may just be worried about the change in weather).  His behaviors are usually out of left field, or don't make sense in the context of the situation.    I know I'm not a professional and I have come to the realization that he needs one.  I'm working on that.

I just wish other people could see my point of view and try to understand my position.  I'm his Mom.  I'm supposed to fix this.  I'm supposed to make him feel safe and ease his fears.  But with this ugly monster called Anxiety I simply can not seem to do that.  At least not alone.

1 comment:

Tammy Galley said...

Shana, you are a great mama. I am so sorry that you guys are going through this. Anxiety is no joke and you are doing the right thing by believing him! Hugs Mama, let me know if you need to talk. We are going through things with Nick too, I get it!